Reaper/2i2 issues----recording level vs playback level

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Mark E Rhodes, Jul 30, 2021.

  1. Mark E Rhodes

    Mark E Rhodes Tele-Meister

    Oct 2, 2011
    Greenacres, Florida
    If I plug my Tele into the 2i2 and record something in Reaper, the level I see (in Reaper) while recording will be the level I see when the track plays back. No problem.

    But if I want to use some FX, such as when recording vocals, then the level I see while recording will be one thing (averaging -18 dB, no peaks above -12, the usual) but the level I see on playback will be much higher, sometimes hitting into the red.

    I've asked about this in the Facebook Reaper Users Group and a few snags have been cleared up but I still have the same problem.

    Same with recording guitar using any FX (I mean plug-ins): Reaper only tells me what the level of the signal is WITHOUT FX, but since I want the FX (sometimes) to be recorded, I need some way to know what THAT level is. Before I record, I mean. Finding out only on playback---AFTER recording---is finding out too late to do anything productive about it.

    I suppose this is a simple thing. So simple in fact that people can't believe this is even happening. But it is happening. Persistently. I don't know what else to try. I keep watching videos but they all talk about setting levels by seeing what the meter in Reaper shows. Fine, but if that's not the level of the signal being recorded, it's not useful. Indeed, it's deceptive: it suggests one's level is just fine when it is not!
  2. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2020
    Los Angeles/London
    I don't use either of those so can't give you specifics but I wonder if you are using a compressor or some other plugin in the DAW with auto makeup gain enabled, that is boosting your signal too much.

    From what you describe the signal at the converters is not clipping so it must be something that is happening at the plugins In the DAW.
    If reaper doesn't give metering options, most plugins will show you their output levels if you keep the ui open. Failing that, put a level monitor plug after each FX to see what each is doing.

    Edit to add
    If you are tracking and recording the plugs, don't forget to remove or bypass them when you play back. Otherwise you are applying them to the track twice.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2021
  3. kkfaudio

    kkfaudio TDPRI Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    I don’t know reaper at all: do you have the option of pre vs post metering? If you are on pre, and add level via plugins the meter level won’t change, but it could be reflected on post metering if that’s an option.
  4. RevBillyG

    RevBillyG Tele-Meister

    Feb 10, 2017
    Agreed post metering should fix your problem. At least show you the signal being recorded.

    But if that doesn’t work, route the output of the channel with your effects to another channel, or a bus. Then record that channel or bus.
  5. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2010
    The Gong - Australia
    Are the FX on the input FX or output FX, if on the output you are recording dry and hearing the FX post printing.

    The input FX are on the tab where you select the input for the track, in the image below have a look at the armed Baritone Solo track, below the pan knob is where the Input 2 is selected and FX are added on the input side.

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